Regularly, I see patients who have been told by their primary care MDs (PCPs) that they’re just getting old and have to deal with the aches, pains, and discomfort that come with aging.

This is a common refrain, and it’s disheartening because when patients hear this, they often believe it and resign themselves to a life of chronic pain and limited mobility.As a sports chiropractor, I get to see the system’s failures up close because most doctors don’t see pulling people out of their sport or beloved activity long term as a failure, but rather just a side effect of aging.

Almost daily, during patient exams, I uncover imbalances and issues that can be addressed, leading to significant improvements in patients’ quality of life. It’s not that these patients are destined to suffer because they’re aging; it’s that they haven’t received the right kind of care to address their specific issues.But it’s not all the PCPs’ fault. They are often overstretched and limited on time. The healthcare system is designed in such a way that PCPs, despite being great doctors, don’t have the bandwidth to dig deeply into the root causes of chronic pain or mobility issues. They have such a limited amount of time with each patient and are often specifically tasked with managing symptoms rather than identifying and treating underlying problems. One of my friends is a PCP at KP and told me he had 1200 patients he was expected to “manage”. In my practice, I have the luxury of time and a focus on musculoskeletal health, which allows me to go beyond the surface symptoms and identify the real causes of a patient’s discomfort. For example, an imbalance in muscle strength, poor posture, or an old injury that’s never fully healed can all contribute to chronic pain. By addressing these issues directly, rather than just treating the symptoms, we can often achieve remarkable improvements.

Here’s what you should know:

  1. You Don’t Have to Accept Pain as a Normal Part of Aging: While some changes in our bodies are inevitable as we age, chronic pain and limited mobility are not limitations you have to simply accept. There are often underlying causes that can be treated.
  2. Seek Specialized Care: If you’ve been told to just “deal with it,” consider seeking out a specialist who has the time and expertise to dig deeper into your issues. Sports chiropractors, and other specialists can often provide insights and treatments that go beyond what a PCP might be able to offer in a standard appointment.
  3. Be Proactive About Your Health: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek second opinions. Your health is too important to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. If something doesn’t feel right, keep pushing for answers until you find someone who can help.
  4. Understand the System: Recognize that the limitations of the healthcare system aren’t a reflection of your doctor’s abilities. PCPs are often doing the best they can within a constrained environment. By seeking out additional resources and specialists, you can complement the care you receive from your PCP.

By understanding these points and taking a proactive approach to your health, you can break free from the mindset that pain and discomfort are just part of getting older. There are solutions out there, and with the right care, you can achieve a higher quality of life, no matter your age.

On our YouTube Station, I dive deeper into these topics, offering specific advice and strategies for managing and overcoming chronic pain. Don’t give up hope—there are ways to feel better and live a more active, pain-free life.